I do my podcast, "5-Alarm Task Force," for you - my brothers and sisters in the fire service. Today's society is so different than when I grew up. Sometimes, that makes our job tougher. Just look what we have to do to help our communities understand how vital and precious sprinklers are in, at the very least, every new residential structure; not too mention commercial buildings too! And our jobs have changed drastically in the 30-plus years since an injury took me off the line. We used to be fire departments that ran with an ambulance if they needed extra help. Now, WE run the rescues and EMS calls and wonder when and if a fire call will come in.
Nevertheless, the oath we take and the badge we carry tell us that we have a job to do. This job didn't reach out and pull us in, we went looking for it, whether your career, volunteer or paid-on-call. WE made the choice! No matter how simple the call, when someone in our community dials 9-1-1, he/she is reaching out to us in a time of need. It may be a big "nothing" to us, but it wasn't to him/her when they needed us.
WE are a team and we are ALL professionals! Not just in our own firehouses and departments, but wherever we go. We know we can knock on the door of any firehouse in this great nation of hours and we'll be welcomed inside and we'll sit there and talk shop, maybe have a cold drink, a cup of "joe" or even a meal.
And now we're learning that this job could hurt or even kill us, in ways most of us never dreamed of. But there are a lot of good people out there who are dedicated to helping firefighters avoid these poisons and carcinogens. And heaven forbid, we do get the terrible diagnosis, there are those who will fight, tooth and nail, to heal us and get us back on the job.
We are a special breed, as we run in where everyone else is running out. But remember, we're still human and this job can take a hell of a toll on us sometimes. DON'T be afraid to reach out for help. There are many who have dedicated themselves to helping us.
We are America's bravest - we are dedicated - we are FIREFIGHTERS!